When a job at his father-in-law's Argentinean chocolate factory led him to Europe in 1969, Baruch Schaked seized the opportunity to master the craft of chocolate making. His newfound skills soon brought him stateside, where he opened a modest chocolate shop in Florida. More than four decades later, that original shop has blossomed into an interstate chain of Schakolad Chocolate Factories.
Despite the shop’s steady rise in popularity, the key to its success has remained the same. Its chocolatiers still adhere to a European-style family recipe honed over three generations, drawing on gourmet ingredients to design candies more artful and delicious than the self-portraits Van Gogh famously finger-painted with his favorite condiments. These candies include 70 types of truffles and lollipops crafted with real cocoa and without preservatives or wax. The chocolatiers also keep a rotating stash of 10 handmade gelatos on hand—popular flavors include triple-dark chocolate and toasted-coconut almond fudge—and offer several kosher, vegan, and sugar-free options.
At CoffeeTime Café, the air fills with the rich, earthy scent of organic fair-trade coffee beans and the satisfying buzz of espresso machines as baristas whip up frothy tops to cappuccinos and lattes. They build drinks and shakes with Lavazza espresso, chilled fruits, or rich chocolates amid dark varnished-wood accents, plasma screen TVs, and plump, leather couches. The shop's free WiFi enables students to study while live musicians strum acoustic guitars and sing musical versions of their upcoming Scantron answers.
Located in an English country cottage, the English Tea Garden hosts idyllic afternoon tea times with traditional British bites and a menu of 11 loose-leaf teas. Mother and daughter tandems and men's rugby teams can spend an afternoon quaffing tea from fine china. Parties can choose tea selections such as the Organic Earl Grey tea or the Tippy Assam Leaf tea, in which black tea mingles with exotic fruit flavors. Guests also can nibble on assorted tea sandwiches and scones while marveling at how large their hands look when holding miniature pastries. Devonshire cream, preserves, and lemon curd accompany dishes for dainty delectability.
From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.